Hr Library

Can We Talk? Where Performance Conversations Run Off the Rails

Source |Resourcefulmanager .com  |  BY:

So, you’ve decided to call an employee in to talk about his performance. Maybe you’ve noticed the employee seems disinterested about taking on new tasks. Or that his work is regularly late when it used to be prompt.

Regardless, you know you have to have “the talk.”

How you approach the performance chat will affect the response you’ll get – and the turnaround you’re hoping for.

But even though your main goal is to improve the employee’s performance, your chat might backfire if you have an underlying motive going in.

According to leadership coach Marlene Chism, managers sometimes harbor hidden agendas in performance conversations that can lead us to focus in the wrong direction.

Here are some of the big ones Chism says to avoid:

The Intention Just to Punish

If your goal is to justify punishment, you’re likely to get little buy-in from the employee to avoid the mistake he made in the first place.

Trying to scare employees into doing the correct thing or doing a job better will only intimidate them. This could lead to the employee hiding work from you out of fear, or (more likely) to him searching for another job.

And this could cause a problem if an employee is an otherwise good worker.

“You may have good reason to be angry [about the mistake or bad performance],” says Chism, “but showing resentment is a sign that your intention may not be in the right place.”

Start these performance conversations up front with an acknowledgment of what the employee did wrong, and why it made you concerned: “I know you know what you did wrong, but I also want to make sure you understand why I’m displeased.”


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